Wedding Planning: Dress Shopping

The wonderful Fur Coat No Knickers (image source)
So last week was a bit of a wedding blitz for me - I saw our caterers and the florist on Monday, sent a flurry of emails to cake makers in the week and then on Saturday went shopping for my dress! I have to admit that dress shopping was one of the parts of the wedding planning process I'd been most nervous about. Whilst I like a whirl round the shops to browse as much as the next person, I find shopping for an outfit for a specific occasion really stressful and have on occasion ended up in floods of tears in a changing room. So the idea of traipsing round shops looking for the perfect dress for one day made me feel really nervous - what if I didn't find anything I liked? Or worse, what if I found dresses that looked lovely on the hanger but turned into sacks of potatoes on me?

Thankfully, I'm pleased to say it wasn't like that at all - if anything quite the opposite! So I thought I'd do this post as a mini guide to wedding dress shopping with my tips for finding something you love.

Get ideas of what you like
Like a lot of brides, I have a wedding scrapbook with all the photos I've torn out of magazines and put together to create an idea of what I want the wedding to look like, and of course it included a dress page. Whilst I picked out a lot of different lengths and patterns, the one thing that was consistent was the shape of the dresses. I seemed to be drawn to the styles with a fitted top half and flared skirt, so I booked appointments at two shops that specialised in those types of dresses - Candy Anthony and Fur Coat No Knickers - in the hope I'd find something I'd like.

Go with an open mind
I'm not the tallest girl in the world, so I was a bit worried that I'd be swamped by a long dress or a big skirt. However, I was persuaded to try a dress with a four-layer petticoat in one shop, and actually it was fine - I didn't feel restricted or weighed down by it, and I liked the shape it gave to the dress. Similarly, in another shop I tried on a full-length dress, which rather than swallowing me ended up being very flattering. So you never know what might look awesome on you until you try it!

Don't be afraid to be picky
I've always had a bit of a 'don't make a fuss' attitude in life and am often a bit reluctant to say if I'm not keen on something, but I suddenly discovered a ruthless streak when it came to my wedding dress. After all, this is probably going to be the most photographed dress you ever wear and so it's important that you feel happy and comfortable in it. If there are things you don't like so much about a dress, tell the staff - and of course mention the things you do like about the dress as well - so they can help you find one that you absolutely love.

Take someone you trust
I went dress shopping with my mum and my best friend C, who is also my chief bridesmaid, because I trusted them both to give honest opinions about whether something suited me and also to suggest things I might not have thought of myself. I have to say they were a great help and I tried on some really gorgeous dresses that I probably wouldn't have looked at twice if they weren't there, so I'd definitely recommend taking at least one person with you when you go shopping to be a helpful sounding board. But equally, don't feel railroaded into picking a dress you're not 100% sure about because your mum/sister/friend loves it. You're the one who's wearing it so it has to be something you're completely happy with.

Down your drinks!
It's fairly common practice for wedding dress shops to offer you a drink when you get there - some places it might be tea or coffee, others it'll be champagne or Bucks Fizz. However, as the bride I spent the entire time getting in and out of dresses, having sleeves pinned etc and so ended up not finishing my drinks because I was so worried about spilling on the samples! So, as a slightly flippant last point, I'd say drinking quickly is a very good idea...

I must also give a special mention to the staff at Candy Anthony and Fur Coat No Knickers who were absolutely lovely and couldn't do enough for us. If you're shopping for your wedding dress, fancy something a bit different and can get down to London then I recommend them highly.

So did I find 'The One'? Well, the short answer is that I found lots I loved, and I have it down to three favourites (which I may share on Instagram if people would like a sneak peek as it's pretty much the only place N might not see them! You can follow me there at cherrysodablog). I am ridiculously indecisive though so have given myself until the end of the month to make a decision - watch this space!

What would be your top tips for brides-to-be looking for their wedding dress?


  1. The top tip I'd give to brides-to-be is to be open-minded!
    I went shopping with an idea of what I wanted (and didn't want) but after trying on what seemed like hundreds of dresses the one that was absolutely perfect was one that looked awful on the hanger and had lots of things about it which I initially said I didn't want! I think it's definitely a case of don't worry what it looks like hanging up, just try it on and if it's the one - you'll just know! :-) x

  2. The article was so good to find wedding dresses so plan in free wedding planner app was so easy